Coaching to Character Stickers


The MN league is introducing a new tool for coaches to open space at your team practices to discuss, teach and reward great character.

Prop Time and Stickers
Recent research indicates that teaching empathy, communication skills, self control and positive self-concept are just as critical in the development of healthy kids as english, history and math.

Take the time to add “Prop time” to your practices.  During this time, identify a rider who demonstrated traits of strong character and present the rider with a character skill sticker.

The time is not meant to reward a rider with a prize, but it opens space for reflection and conversation for all riders.

Review the seven character skills below.  There is no particular order.

Learn how to add this tool into your practices.  

  • Instruct each ride group to finish their route and be back 15 min before practice ends.
  • Gather the team together.
  • Hold “Prop Time”. with your skill stickers ready.
  • Allow everyone to call out a rider, or a coach.  Make sure, others participate in identifying the skills; including the riders themselves.
  • Hand out a sticker that shows the skill recognized to the rider.
  • Give a big “Well done” to the rider!

Remember, this is not about winning – the sticker should not be viewed as a prize.
Instead, the sticker should be used as tools that open up space during practice for conversation. 


Share your Story

Use this link to Share your Story with Coach Welsh and let him know how the stickers are working with your team!

Seven Core Character Skills

[caption id="attachment_13640" align="alignright" width="186"] Positive Self Concept[/caption]

WHAT IS IT?  Positive Self Concept is a realistic awareness of oneself and one’s abilities which reflects an understanding of his/her strengths and potential, and therefor is a positive..

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT?  An individual’s belief about their ability to cause something to happen determines their behavior.


  • REALISTIC understanding of their potential and limitations
  • Allows kids to believe in themselves & take risk and grow
  • An idea of the self - constructed from the beliefs one holds about oneself and the responses of others – it includes perceptions, body image, aspirations for
  • the future, past experiences as part of its construct.
  • Self image – How you see yourself
  • Self Esteem – How much do you value yourself
  • Idealized Self – What do you wish you were

Credits:  Content by | Graphics by Introworks

[caption id="attachment_13639" align="alignright" width="200"] Self Control[/caption]

WHAT IS IT? One’s ability to control and regulate oneself.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT?  The ability to control impulses, delay gratification, focus attention, regulate and modulate emotions and behaviors is important for all parts of life. It allows youth to avoid risky behaviors and avoid violence.


  • Control Impulses
  • Delay Gratification
  • Direct & Focus Attention
  • Risk Seeking
  • Anger Management
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Actions & Consequences
  • Bullying
  • Intimate Partner Violence

Credits:  Content by | Graphics by Introworks

[caption id="attachment_13641" align="alignright" width="200"] Thinking Skills[/caption]

WHAT IS IT?  The ability to identify an issue and take in information from multiple sources to evaluate options in order to reach a reasonable conclusion.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT?  This skill asks kids to engage in complex problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making.


  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Planning
  • Strategy

Credits:  Content by |  Graphics by Introworks

[caption id="attachment_13638" align="alignright" width="200"] Social Skills[/caption]

WHAT IS IT?  The ability to interact productively in social contexts and to respond to emotions or conflict in socially appropriate non-aggressive ways - essentially, interact positively and pro-socially with others.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT?  Strongly linked to violence prevention.


  • Pro-Social attitudes – even when in conflict
  • Community minded
  • Context Appropriate Behaviors
  • Engage positively with others
  • Give credit where credit is due
  • Expressing respect and appreciation for others

Credits:  Content by |  Graphics by Introworks

[caption id="attachment_13643" align="alignright" width="200"] Empathy[/caption]

WHAT IS IT?  The ability to feel and understand what someone else is feeling.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT?  Learning requires vulnerability and courage to fail.


  • Cognitive Empathy – Seeing another’s perspective
  • Affective Empathy – The ability to share in another’s emotional state
  • Courage & Vulnerability – It takes risk to learn & grow.
  • Shaming – The fear of being separated from a person or group of people that is important to an individual.


Credits:  Content by |  Graphics by Introworks

WHAT IS IT?  One’s ability to effectively express and understand knowledge and ideas. Modes of communication including listening, verbal, non-verbal and written.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT?  Adults often talk too much to kids and do not listen. Communication is between people. Listening is an important skill that allows relationships to happen.


  • Listening is part of communication
  • It is impossible to coach without listening.
  • Includes Social Media

GUIDED LEARNING:  Allows you to communicate with integrity and empathy because it places value on the opinions & experiences of the athlete. It protects their worthiness.


  • Identify
  • At what point did you notice…?
  • Describe what happened when….
  • Tell me more about……
  • How did it feel to…?
  • How comfortable are you….?
  • Compare
  • What do you think went well…?
  • What did you think did not go well?
  • What was the difference in these moments?
  • Tell me about a time when you….
  • Analyze
  • Why did you decide to…..


  • What is the value of….?
  • What conclusions can you draw….?
  • Brainstorm
  • What are some ways you can…..?
  • How will you include….?
  • What might happen if….?
  • How do you think the others would respond if…



  • Includes body language, eye movements, gestures, etc…
  • Guided Learning is Key for Coaches – and good for kids
  • Silence is a critical tool for teaching – use it.
  • Healthy, positive, supportive communication that always protects the worthiness of other people should always be encouraged – for kids and coaches.

Credits:  Content by |  Graphics by Introworks

WHAT IS IT?  The motivation and ability to make viable plans and take action toward desired goals.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT?  Educational and career aspirations, expectations about ones future, planning skills


  • Closely tied to Positive Self Concept since it is tied to what a kids beliefs about their abilities for achievement in the future.
  • Having goals mitigates one’s desire to be impulsive and to take unnecessary risk.
  • Goals teach about consequences, focus, and determination  In youth development, reaching goals is not as important as setting them and practicing working toward them. Practicing how to not achieve goals is important.

Credits:  Content by |  Graphics by Introworks

.Graphics by Introworks